Zim takes UN tourism SG bid to Ja­pan ZIM-JAP TIES STRENGTH­ENED

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Su­gar Chagonda

ZIM­BABWE and Ja­pan have agreed to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion in tourism in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment and strengthen bi­lat­eral ties for mu­tual eco­nomic ben­e­fit.

Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospi­tal­ity In­dus­try, Anas­tan­cia Ndhlovu and Ja­panese Vice Com­mis­sioner for Tourism Agency Mr Ya­suto Kawarabayashi held lengthy dis­cus­sions on var­i­ous tourism de­vel­op­ment is­sues dur­ing her visit to Tokyo re­cently.

Ndhlovu was in Ja­pan at­tend­ing the 2016 Ja­pan An­nual In­ter­na­tional Tourism Fair along­side more than 140 par­tic­i­pat­ing states in­clud­ing those from Africa.

The Deputy Minister par­tic­i­pated in the of­fi­cial rib­bon­cut­ting cer­e­mony, which marked the launch of JATA 2016 at Tokyo’s Big Sight Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Odaiba last week along­side top Ja­panese of­fi­cials and other dis­tin­guished guests.

She en­gaged the Ja­panese govern­ment on the can­di­da­ture of Dr Wal­ter Mzembi, Zim­babwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospi­tal­ity In­dus­try for the post of Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the UN World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNWTO).

Elec­tions for the cov­eted post will take place dur­ing the UNWTO Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil meet­ing to be held in Madrid, Spain, in May 2017. Ja­pan is a mem­ber of the UNWTO Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil.

Kawarabayashi ac­knowl­edged dR Mzembi’s impressive cre­den­tials for the job and promised to main­tain close com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the govern­ment of Zim­babwe as the electoral process evolves.

All 15 Sadc mem­ber states par­tic­i­pated in the event un­der Re­tosa, the re­gional tourism pro­mo­tion agency.

Zim­babwe on av­er­age re­ceives about 30 000 Ja­panese tourists each year mainly des­tined for the Vic­to­ria Falls, one of the top global des­ti­na­tions. Ndhlovu noted the po­ten­tial to in­crease Ja­panese ar­rivals and en­gaged the tourism au­thor­i­ties in Tokyo to fa­cil­i­tate sup­port for Zim­babwe.

She stressed the im­por­tance of shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, train­ing tour guides, train­ing of train­ers in the tourism and hospi­tal­ity sec­tor and the joint pro­mo­tion of both tourism des­ti­na­tions and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the field of tourism.

“The Ja­panese tourism au­thor­i­ties, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with JICA, are also in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing their sup­port for our com­mu­nity based tourism en­ter­prises pro­gramme,” said Ndhlovu.

“They fully ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of the pro­gramme and the fact that com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, need to de­rive direct ben­e­fit from tourist ac­tiv­i­ties and at­trac­tions which are lo­cated within their midst”.

Kawarabayashi said Ja­pan was tar­get­ing at­tract­ing 40 mil­lion tourist ar­rivals in the coun­try by the year 2020 — the year that Tokyo will host the summer Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games.

From Tokyo, the Deputy Minister vis­ited Seoul in the Repub­lic of Korea, a key mem­ber of the UNWTO’s Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil to dis­cuss the future de­vel­op­ment of tourism ex­changes between Korea and Zim­babwe and sought the sup­port of the Korean govern­ment for the can­di­da­ture of Dr Mzembi.

Deputy Minister Anas­tan­cia Ndhlovu

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